Prof. David C. Driskell

Robin Holder brings to the visual arts experience a multilayered form of artistry that is heavily influenced by her own biracial and multicultural background. Infused within the usual plan of working as a painter and printmaker are the creative inventions that seem self-imposed, and it is there that we see aspects of highly skilled experimental processes that add unorthodox methods of making an art form that vacillates between collaging, printing, and painting. In some ways, a part of what attracts us to Holder's work is that which is unfamiliar, non-objective and at times unsettling within orthodoxy. That she has been able to turn this curious form of inquiry into a strong and sound visually accomplished statement that speaks well of her tenacity and creative will to not give in to the conventional ways of making art is equally important for her art. This stance adds measurably to the daring quality that Holder ably brings to the diverse mediums with which she works. Few printmakers would dare to traverse the narrow lines Holder pursues between stenciling, stamping, and printing a transferred image from the common plane of the Xerox machine while making an endearing form of artistry that all but gives credence to an overused everyday copied image like a common Xerox transfer. Holder does it with great skill and finesse and she never looks back to ascertain questions about acceptance or creative appropriateness and purity of mediums.

This is all part and parcel of Holder's insightful view of methods and materials of making fine art. I would surmise that the driving force behind the way she moves form around in composition, the way she transposes lettering over images, and the way she interrupts conventional surfaces in what would have been a clean cut linoleum process is partly informed by the social and cultural activism of her own philosophy of life. It is here that we see the artist embrace an existential inquiry into the nature of things known and unknown. From the direct use of images of empowerment, those that we see in everyday life such as nature provides, the artist incorporates a social message into her work that scorns war, hunger, poverty and many other universal ills in the modern day world. In many ways, Holder's art is good at pulling us visually into the social and political quagmires of life and it is done in an unalarming manner, one that demands that we take a position on viewing things that influence our lives for better or for worse. No one comes away from Holder's work without reconnecting in some way to his or her own past history.